Unsettled in the settling in…

Hello everyone,

So this week was eventful, I know I say that quite a bit, but there have been quite a few events since I came over here. My big news was that my shipment was to be delivered on Monday. Now the job that I have is so wonderful, they pay you to move in your house. Isn’t that great, a day off work  to unload your shipment.

Inspired by my friend Amanda, I decided to pick up some specialty cookies and some fabulous Matcha tea (that Sensei always gives me) for the delivery guys. I was up and ready by 7 a.m., but I knew that they had anytime during the day to show up.  They arrived a little after 8:30 a.m. and since I only had one container, they were gone by 10:30 a.m.  – with the rest of my ‘choco’ cookies. I, however, was just at the beginning.

I felt really uncomfortable in my house for the first time. Since this whole adventure started I have been trying to get rid of extraneous items in my life. Do I need five mugs when there is only me here? Are four plates really necessary? Why do I need a dress that I haven’t put on in four years? All this paring down. So after eliminating about 80% of my belongings in the move over here, I was looking forward to having my shipment show up. I had forgotten what I packed and what I didn’t.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the feeling that I had been invaded by my belongings. That somehow they had followed me over here and were now taking over my new life. Each box I opened I had more and more stuff and all I could think was, my god, I’ve been living here for two months without this, why do I need it now?

That photo at the top of the page shows my efforts around 13:00 (yes, we run on military time now – suck it up, just subtract 12 from the time and you’ll have it). I was texting with Amanda and had to show her my awful downstairs that looked like a bomb had exploded.

On Friday after getting rid of all the boxes and papers left over.

I decided to push through and by the end of the afternoon, I did not have the house clean, but I could walk through the downstairs without walking into a container.  Amanda to the rescue, I texted and asked if we could go out to dinner because I was worn out and did not want to face making dinner or the three heads of lettuce in my refrigerator.  We went to one of my favorite places – Nepal Spice Kitchen a few blocks from my house.

living room with shelf
Clean, wide open spaces…..aaaaaahhhhh….

I came back home and started work again for another few hours.

Tuesday was a busy day at work and I was training with Sensei that night. So there would be no time for any more progress on the boxes. I had no idea it was his birthday until Sensei John Eccles sent me a message, thanks again for that! So I went digging around looking for a gift. Since he had broken out the Awamori on more than one occasion, I had taken note of his brand and bought him a bottle. And since my shipment had arrived, I now had my Herkimer Diamonds. So I presented him with one of those. He, of course, decided it would make a great weapon! That brain and those hands are always going, always turning things over and always karate- oriented. He was happy with  all the birthday wishes. He especially enjoyed the picture Mattia Maritan sent to him.

Sensei calligraphy
Sensei demonstrating calligraphy…Cesar in the background…no, there’s nothing Sensei can’t do!


Friday night, last night, I decided to head to my Ramen restaurant and then over to the mall. I am so overcome by this island, it was in the high sixties and I’m looking around and seeing the palm trees and then the trees outside the mall decorated for the holidays. The thing is that you can walk around in the dark without any fear of crime. You should worry about getting run over, but not being mugged. So, I am not a mall person by nature, but this is sort of like one big department store with a supermarket inside and a bakery. On the second floor there is a weird combination food court and a big TV that often shows Sumo wrestling (which is always a good time).

This is the mall in Chatan, near American Village

Here’s one of my favorite things they sell in the supermarket…favorite as in it’s awesome, but I’ll never buy it in a hundred years.

fish heads
Fish heads anyone? It’s only 298 Yen! About $2.20.

So after much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth I finally got my house in order tonight. The empty places in my house have been restored and it now feels like my place again.

I ended up taking one box down to the Marine Thrift Store and I have another gym bag full of stuff that I no longer need or will use that will go there as well. Here’s just a little note as you’re collecting or buying things for the holidays. Our Marines, and other service members too, don’t get paid much. They don’t have a lot of money for extras, if you’ve got something that you’re getting rid of, instead of selling it, make a donation to our service members or a veteran’s agency. It’s truly appreciated. I spoke with a couple Marines this week that live in the barracks and they talked about a special effort that was made for Thanksgiving and how much it meant to them. Just keep them in mind, they are truly the most awesome people I have ever worked with and for. What a privilege to be with them.

One last thing before I wrap this up for the week. There are these vending machines all over the place and they are wonderful. This one is the Coffee Boss! And Tommy Lee Jones looks like a bad ass…this is taken at Tropical Beach, a few kilometers from my house.

coffee boss
I don’t know who that other guy is, but Tommy Lee Jones, you are the Coffee Boss!


coffee boss at tropical beach
Coca-Cola and Red Bull are everywhere.

Have a great week everyone and stay safe, it sounds like the States have turned into the wild west.